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Tony Dejak/Associated Press Job applicants at a career fair in Independence, Ohio, last month. In the midst of the , lingering instability in the oil-rich Middle East and concerns about a Chinese economic slowdown, the American unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped last month to 8.6 percent, its lowest level in two and a half years. The Labor Department also said that the nation’s employers added 120,000 jobs in November and that job growth for the previous two months was better than initially reported. That looks like good news for President Obama as he heads into the 2012 presidential election — especially since just a few months ago the picture looked bleak. “If you go back to August, all sorts of people were telling us that the economy was headed straight into ,” said Paul Ashworth, senior United States economist at Capital Economics.
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The Federal Reserve issued a slightly better outlook on the economy Wednesday, but cut its economic growth forecast for the year overall. Following a two-day policy meeting, the central bank voted 9-to-1 to make no changes to the Fed's ongoing stimulus program, and maintain its pledge to keep interest rates at record lows "at least through mid-2013." The Fed has held rates near zero since December 2008. "Economic growth strengthened somewhat in the third quarter, reflecting in part a reversal of the temporary factors that had weighed on growth earlier in the year," the Fed said in its statement.
Reuters A textile worker in Huaibei, China, this week. A recent survey showed a third consecutive month of contraction in the country's manufacturing sector.
CNNMoney.com is tracking developments in the economic rescue as they happen.
THE paths crossing the hills and valleys of Derbyshire were worn deep by the passage of millions of feet, as villagers tramped to and from the mills that once dotted the countryside. The equivalent route today is from the cavernous platforms of Canary Wharf Tube station—where, during rush hour, crowded trains disgorge throngs of bankers every few minutes—to the trading rooms above. London's financial sector may contribute only a few percentage points of Britain's total economic output, but it defines the country, and its sense of prosperity, in much the same way that cotton mills and trading ships once did. The financial crisis, when Britain experienced its first bank run in more than a century, and two of its four biggest banks had to be partly nationalised, was humbling.
A protest on Wall Street. Confidence has fallen and the risks are on the downside, the IMF said in its half-yearly report. Photograph: Keystone/Rex Features
The euro zone debt crisis took another dramatic turn Tuesday as thousands of Italians hit the streets in a general strike , protesting a new round of austerity measures. Europe's woes continue to rile global investors. The Swiss National Bank surprised the markets by setting an exchange rate cap on the soaring franc, which investors have been flocking to as a safe-haven currency. European stock markets, meanwhile, hit their lowest point in two years Tuesday .